Lorelei is Zavvy's Content Marketing Manager. She is always on the hunt for the latest HR trends, fresh statistics, and academic and real-life best practices to spread the word about creating better employee experiences.
Katarina Berg, CHRO Spotify never says, 'Welcome to Spotify.'
Instead, she states, "Welcome to controlled chaos!".
In a blog, she explains what this controlled chaos means:
"In chaos, there is innovation, but also confusion. Hypergrowth of ours has made it more important than ever to go from toddler stage and push into young adult as an organization, faster than any individual. The chaos we found ourselves in was to be expected and it brought a lot of good. So here we are, welcome to controlled chaos! A challenging and complex organization with plenty of day-to-day polarities, but with never-ending opportunities to grow."
Onboarding new employees is nothing less than chaos with a laundry list of tasks. Let's see how Spotify brings a system, innovation (and control) into this chaos.
Spotify employee onboarding is a careful curation of many small tasks that bring together a wholesome experience. Here are seven main parts of their onboarding process.
New hires are not left alone to figure out the initial path. Instead, the manager assigns them an onboarding buddy in the preboarding phase before they join the company. Buddy is like a first friend or peer coach to new hires who helps them settle into their new role.
Buddy assists in:
"Having a go-to person assigned to help me reduce my anxiety on my start date." Emma Bostian, Engineering Manager at Spotify.
There is a dedicated time for introduction within and across teams. These introductions are on Slack or a quick meeting where each team member tells a bit about themselves. Having these types of meetings makes acclimatization faster.
"I felt included from day one." Nicole A. Michaelis, Senior UX Writer at Spotify.
Spotify ensures new hires understand their company culture and are equipped with details to begin with. So, there are onboarding sessions on company policies, culture, and benefits alongside role-related training.
Learning doesn't stop at onboarding sessions. There is an internal learning portal by Spotify's L&D team where new hires can:
"One of Spotify's tenets is growth, and there's the expectation that each and every one of us is accountable for our continuous development. There's an impressive amount of opportunities available from The Green House." Elizabeth Nieto, Head of Equity and Impact at Spotify.
🌱 Learn more about training and development at Spotify and how they ensure that continuous growth and improvement are not just isolated events but ingrained in the company's DNA.
Managers regularly connect with new hires to answer queries, address concerns, and improve the process. (In fact, they do so with all team members.)
Besides connecting with the manager, new hires can contact other team members and set up one-on-one meetings.
At Spotify, employees may solicit feedback as often as they choose, and most employees say they receive feedback once a quarter or every week.
New hires use an internal tool to invite anyone (managers, peers, or direct reports) to get feedback.
This is one of the standout parts of Spotify onboarding. It's not exactly part of the initial onboarding, but a routine event scheduled a certain number every year — a three-day networking event for new hires where they learn about company mission, values, and culture and meet their colleagues. It's a fantastic way to create a sense of community.
Spotify thinks of its team as a band that came together to provide the best audio experience to the customer. The audio/video platform asked its employees (aka band members) the following:
What values do they believe in?
What should be the mission and core of the company?
And the entire company came up with a band manifesto — a single document summarizing their culture.
This document can be a corporate lesson on culture for many organizations. The entire onboarding strategy of Spotify is a reflection of this document. Let's see how.
From the beginning, Spotify wanted teams that had good alignment but weren't tightly coupled so they could work independently.
There is also a section in the manifesto which highlights this point:
"We don't hire highly competent people to have them micro-managed. We use constant planning and one-on-ones to open communication channels rather than admin-heavy, time-consuming, template-driven appraisal talks. We believe that it isn't our responsibility to manage talent – we're here to develop talent."
With one-on-one, 360 feedback, team intros, onboarding sessions, and courses, Spotify is trying to build an alignment between employees early on to keep autonomy high and micro-management negligible.
Transparency is another point highlighted in Spotify's manifesto. In an interview, Katarina Berg, their CHRO, explained why transparency matters to them.
In her words: "I think what a couple of organizations get wrong is the easy part of thinking that in their pyramid or hierarchy, it's only people at the top who are interested in the bigger picture. I think everybody is interested in the bigger picture. And everybody needs a purpose. So you have to be very open and transparent in where you are going, what your why is, what problem you are trying to solve and what is the plan and strategy."
Spotify lays the foundation of transparency early on. They make new hires aware of the big picture early on from the onboarding phase itself via different sessions.
Spotify doesn't aim for culture fit but a culture add-on. Here are a few lines from their manifesto explaining what culture add-on means.
A culture where innovative, passionate, and playful people can grow, have fun, and do their best work.
A culture that develops and deepens with every new team member but always stays true to our core values.
How do they aim for culture, then?
At the interview stage, there are questions related to culture. Also, there are onboarding sessions on culture. Spotify strives to add members who bring something new to the table without disrupting the core.
Lastly, two of the core company values from the manifesto are:
Spotify focuses on team bonding and ease of collaboration, emphasizing one-on-ones and team meetings. Also, to add playfulness and make onboarding fun, they conduct intro days.
Spotifiers not only team up on projects, but they even jam together.
➡️ Found Spotify's HR practices fascinating? You will also enjoy reading our deep dive into Spotify's performance review system.
A Gallup report says onboarding is a crucial step for improving the employee experience and retaining them. Of course, there are numerous benefits to onboarding. But Spotify onboarding is not just another onboarding.
Let's see what peculiar benefits this well-thought-out onboarding strategy brings.
Having an onboarding buddy provides the immediate assistance new hires are looking for. It smoothens the transition period. Buddy shares knowledge and helps them to settle in.
Most importantly, buddy becomes new hires' first friend. JobSage recently surveyed the impact of having friends at work, and 92% of respondents reported that having friends impacts their willingness to continue at the company.
A study shows internal networking (within a company) reduces the likelihood of voluntary turnover. Employees engaging more with their peers are more likely to settle in faster and stay. And Spotify prioritizes networking and engaging new hires with frequent one-on-ones and scheduled intro days.
As of October 2023. Spotify has a culture and values rating of 4.2 at Glassdoor and numerous positive reviews on the culture.
Spotify assures new hires are starting on the right foot, adapting to the culture. It is reflected in their reviews.
According to findings from the Future Forum Pulse, only 58% of employees agree that their company leadership is transparent and directly impacts employee satisfaction. People who believed their leaders were transparent were six times more satisfied with their work environment.
As Katarina said, Everybody needs a purpose.
As per LinkedIn Workplace Learning Report 2022, 'opportunities to learn and grow' was one of the top factors of a great work culture.
The Greenhouse platform provides an open ground for new hires to learn and explore opportunities. This type of internal portal fosters a learning culture and improves employee performance. Also, it shows a company is ready to invest in its employees and their career advancement.
Overwhelmed but impressed by the Spotify elaborate onboarding process?
We have a simple solution for you. Like Spotify, Zavvy also believes in creating a wholesome onboarding experience for new hires, which helps them navigate the first few months.
Replicate the entire Spotify onboarding using Zavvy.
Start by pairing new hires with buddies.
But is assigning a buddy enough? Zavvy also takes care of coaching by guiding buddies on how to help new hires.
If there are any other tasks you wish to complete before the new hire joins, like tech setup or completing paperwork, you can plan it in our preboarding software.
Information overload is real. Overcome it with Zavvy. Using our onboarding software, you can create a journey for new hires, providing information in a course format that they can follow one step at a time. With easy integration with YouTube, Google Drive, Typeform, and Loom, you can pull content from your existing repositories.
Finding a time that matches all the team members' availability is daunting. Take the busy work off of your plate using our built-in event scheduler. Block the calendar of your team to schedule a team intro using Zavvy.
Taking reviews from peers, managers, and stakeholders can sound like a big task(and a messy one). With Zavvy, you can set up a highly customized feedback process with just a few clicks.
Want to conduct a quarterly event for new hires and wondering who to invite? Integrate Zavvy with your existing HRMS systems and invite new hires who joined within X days for networking events.
No more scrolling through Excel and finding the participants. Let Zavvy do it for you.
Adapt our Learning management system (LMS) to build a knowledge repository. Employees can take both internal and third-party courses on our platform.
And all the effort you took to bring employees on the platform doesn't go to waste once onboarding is over.
Instead, Zavvy becomes your partner to empower employees with continuous feedback. And, of course, learning never stops with the LMS portal.
Still having doubts? A 2022 survey says 80% of Millennial and Gen Z job seekers are ready to leave a job within six months if it doesn't meet their expectations.
The job market is changing, and the new job seeker is unwilling to compromise.
Use Zavvy to retain them with an informative, engaging, and wholesome onboarding experience.
📅 Book a call with one of our experts today and replicate the Spotify formula for successful onboarding.